A new article written by forestry industry expert, Debbie Hammel, for the Natural Resource Defense Council, has underlined the need for the European Commission to make the right decisions when it reviews its biomass policies later this year for the EU Climate and Energy Package.
Hammel echoes the widespread welcome among environmentalists of the recently published EC-commissioned report <i>Environmental implications of increased reliance of the EU on biomass from the South East US.</i> She says that the report is powerful because of its timing and calls for the EC to ensure three reforms are implemented when the biomass policies are reviewed.
These reforms include ensuring any sustainability standards are linked to 'sound carbon accounting' and restricting public subsidies to 'sources of biomass fuel that demonstrably reduce carbon emissions within a time frame relevant to tackling climate change.' She also suggests that any new standards should be 'rigorous' and regularly monitored and verified by an independent third party. Finally, Hammel requests that a cap be placed on the use of biomass for the generation of energy.
Norbord and its Use Wood Wisely campaign supports these views and also welcomes the publication of the recent report on the impact of EU biomass use on the forests of the South East US. The vast majority of the timber pellets exported to the EU are sourced from the US and are processed from whole trees and loosely defined ‘forestry waste products’. Generally such ‘waste products’ have, in reality, legitimate alternate uses that instead of releasing instantaneously embedded carbon can assist with keeping this carbon locked for several decades.